Roasted Potatoes with Figs (New York Times)
With the Roasted Cranberry Sauce, this was one of the recipes we did this year that was a little bit of a wild card. We were really drawn to this dish because of the non-traditional pairing of the potatoes with figs -- two tastes we love but had never thought of combining. We also really liked the idea of the dried figs soaked in black tea -- yum.
Well, consider this one a bust.
We're glad we tried it -- it was too interesting to pass up. But it really just ended up tasting like...potatoes and figs. And kind of bland ones, at that. Turns out there's a reason we'd never thought of combining these two foods: They just don't taste that great in tandem.
Dried black mission figs -- by the way -- were very difficult for us to find in our nation's capital. We ended up finally finding dried mission figs, but they were not black. If you're interested in giving this one a go, hopefully you'll be able to find them.
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots (Bon Appétit November 2007)
These Brussels sprouts were delicious and, aside from the labor-intensive chopping, very easy. Zach's mom said this was her favorite dish on the table.
We just love Brussels sprouts, and we'll definitely cook this recipe again. But we may cook the shallots a little less next time. They were delicious, but they got a little lost in the Brussels sprouts and just melted into the dish.
Peas with Roasted Onions and Mint (Bon Appétit November 2006)
We made these peas for Thanksgiving last year, and they were at the top of our list when we started compiling this year's menu, too. They're super simple to make, and the peas and onions play well off each other. But it's the addition of mint that really makes this dish special. It's not enough to taste minty, just enough to give the whole thing an unexpected jolt. Really, really good!
Spiced Whipped Potatoes with Brown Sugar (Bon Appétit November 2002)
Here's another side dish making a repeat appearance on our Thanksgiving table. It's your basic spiced sweet potatoes, whipped to a fluffy, light finish. Maybe you like nuts or marshmallows on top, but we're big fans of these simple, relatively unadorned sweet potatoes. Tasty and perfect!
The sweet potatoes we used were from our CSA -- we'd been saving them for Thanksgiving. We're not sure if it's the organic potatoes or what, but we were surprised the color of this dish. Last year, it was bright orange. Don't be dismayed by the color -- it's a fantastic recipe.
Recipes for these dishes after the jump!
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes With Dried Figs and Thyme
The New York Times
1/2 pound dried black mission figs or other dried figs
1 1/2 cups brewed black tea, more if necessary
2 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 head garlic
5 sprigs of thyme
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste.
1. Place figs in a bowl, cover with hot black tea and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, depending on initial softness of figs.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes well and trim any bad parts. Separate garlic head into individual cloves but do not remove outer skin.
3. Drain figs. In a bowl, combine garlic, thyme, figs, potatoes and olive oil; toss. Place on roasting pan and bake until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove and season immediately with salt and pepper. Serve. Diners may remove skin from garlic at the table and eat along with the potatoes, if they wish.
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
* 1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
* Coarse kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 4 teaspoons sugar
* 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup water
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
* 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, separated into rings
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
* 3 cups water
* 4 cups frozen petite peas (about 20 ounces)
* 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine onion rings, oil, and salt in medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread onion rings in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Before using, rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Bring 3 cups water to boil. Add peas; simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Return peas to saucepan. Mix in roasted onion rings, mint, pepper, and sugar. Transfer to bowl and serve.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
* 6 8-ounce red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
* 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Cinnamon sticks (optional)
* Orange peel strips (optional)
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes in several places with fork; place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.
Cut potatoes in half. Scoop out pulp into large bowl; discard peel. Add brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, grated orange peel, ground cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to sweet potato pulp. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, or cover with plastic wrap and rewarm in microwave oven on high until heated through.)
Mound sweet potatoes in serving bowl. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange peel strips, if desired.